On Thursday, The Princess Royal opened the newly revamped and expanded Citizens Advice offices in Mid Suffolk Stowmarket. She is patron of National citizens Advice and has been since 1990.
Whilst at the office, she met trustees, staff and volunteers.
Anne praised the new facilities and said she was encouraged to see such an investment. Along with speaking with volunteers, the Princess Royal also chatted with clients who have received welfare and employment benefits.
Peter Emberson, chairman of the trustee board, said he was ‘very pleased’ overall with her visit. He was impressed with how much Her Royal Highness knew of the services provided and how she took the time to speak with every person present.
The history of this national organisation dates back to 1939 just after Great Britain declared war on Germany and Italy. From the beginning, it has been an organisation reliant upon the work of volunteers to assist citizens by resolving issues from debt resolution to housing to everything imaginable.
The Citizens Advice Bureau has grown from 200 facilities to more than 3,300 local locations throughout England and Wales. The organisation is ran by 338 charities and is a registered charity itself. ‘Of the 28,500 people who work for the service, over 22,000 are volunteers and nearly 6,500 are paid staff.’ In 2011, it helped 2.1 million people resolve more than 6.6 million problems.
In October, 2015, Citizens Advice was named Charity of the Year in the Charity Times Awards.
Chief Executive Gillian Guy said: “It was a privilege to be able to accept the award on behalf of everyone in our service. This includes over 21,000 volunteers, our advisers and our supervisors, our team at Citizens Advice, our local trustees and managers, and those hundreds of organisations we work with locally and nationally.”
She also recognised those responsible for calculating and analysing overall outcomes, and how important it was for the judges to recognise them: “I also would particularly like to highlight the exceptional work of our Impact Team, whose analysis calculating the outcomes we provide, for our clients and to society, was singled out for praise by the judges.”
Based on Milton road in Milton House, the citizens Advice Mid Suffolk office has been in operation since 1981. It shares space with landlord Stowmarket Town Council and the town’s Registration Service. It received permission to expand when another tenant left.
Carol Eagles, Manager, said: “We now have more than double the space we had before including four ground floor interview rooms, an accessible entrance and an improved working environment for our staff and volunteers.” Ms. eagles then thanked the town council and their funders.